Andiroba is a
towering rain forest tree, reaching a height of up to 300 feet (90
meters), found in tropical Brazil, Colombia, and Guyana. It produces
fragrant flowers and a brown, woody four-cornered nut three to four
inches (eight to ten centimeters) across that resembles a chestnut and
contains an oil-rich kernel. The oil of the nut, the tree bark, leaves,
and seed oil are used medicinally.
Andiroba oil is an anti-inflammatory due to the presence of compounds
known as limonoids. It promotes normal circulation to the skin and
relieves pain and swelling. The Northwest Amazons use the bark and
leaves for fever reducing and worm-inhibiting tea, and externally as a
wash for skin problems, ulcers, and insect bites, and as an insect
repellent. Brazilians use the seed oil as an antiarthritic and
anti-inflammatory, while the fruit oil is ingested for coughs.
specific health conditions include the following:
rheumatism - Hot
andiroba oil is rubbed into the skin to relieve arthritis and
- Andiroba oil is rich in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. These
essential fatty acids are quickly absorbed through the skin and
circulated to the area of a fracture. There they offset the production
of chemicals that cause inflammation and restrict circulation. Increased
circulation reduces swelling, and decreased production of inflammatory
chemicals reduces pain.
from cuts, scrapes, and abrasions; gonorrhea; insect bites; and
psoriasis. Andiroba oil accelerates healing of skin damage by providing
myristic acid, one of the chemical building blocks of an enzyme that
links together the proteins that form the skin's protective outer layer.
In treating psoriasis, this chemical also signals skin cells when it is
time to stop growing, which prevents scaling. One of the fatty acids
found in andiroba oil, linolenic acid, also helps restore a normal life
cycle to skin cells. This chemical stops the uncontrolled growth of skin
cells in psoriasis, as well as the uncontrolled growth of the
pigment-producing cells that cause age spots.
Andiroba is also used as an oil applied to the skin. It is also used as
a base for antiwrinkle creams such as Aveda and Oil of Olay. The fats in
the oil transport healing alpha-hydroxy acids and other ingredients as
they moisturize and protect the skin.